Kristen's hand rest over her mouth as she looks at a cell phone screen. Brady peers over her shoulder with a furrowed brow.
Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI

Under fireworks in the Square, Johnny and Wendy pull back from kissing and marvel at how unexpected that was. Wendy offers that it could just be because of New Year’s Eve, but Johnny says it felt pretty real. It felt pretty real to her too. He asks her to go for a walk, but Wendy is worried about Li, which makes it hard to focus on how happy she is. He understands and vows to ask her on a real date that isn’t just for appearances. She would like that very much.

In his Salem Inn room, a panicked Li leaves a message for Gabi to call him back. He slams a drink and gets a message from Rolf. Li calls him and shouts at him for ruining his life.

Later, Li’s surprised when Wendy comes to his door. She assumed he wouldn’t want to be alone right now. He invites her in and asks if there’s a chance Gabi didn’t get on the plane. Wendy gently tells him she was pretty determined to get to Stefan. Wendy asks if he really tried to kill him. Li admits he pulled his plug. He’s glad Kristen showed up to replug him in and muses that he temporarily lost his mind. Li knows Rafe is out to get him, and if he discovers she and Johnny knew what he did, he’ll want them to corroborate Gabi’s story. Wendy doesn’t know if she can lie for him.

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Wearing an orange top, Gabby glares while standing in an open doorway.

In Miami, Gabi bursts into Chloe and Stefan’s hotel room while they’re getting passionate in bed. She tells them Rolf injected her with a drug to make her forget his confession about brainwashing Stefan. She declares Stefan still loves her. If she can remember that, then so can he.

As Stefan pulls on a t-shirt and Chloe puts on a robe, Gabi tells Stefan he needs to go with her to find Rolf so he can undo his brainwashing. Stefan tells her to forget it. He’s staying there with Chloe. An outraged Gabi can’t understand why Stefan doesn’t want the part of his brain back that still loves her. She wonders if it’s good enough for Chloe that Stefan was programmed to be attracted to her. Stefan throws her out.

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In bed, Chloe holds a sheet to her bare chest, and a shirtless Stefan props on his elbow. They look offscreen gaping.

From the hall, Gabi pounds on the door and then notices Li’s message on her phone. She calls him back and vows to make him pay. A devastated Li hangs up his phone and tells Wendy he has nothing left. Wendy says he drives her crazy, but they’re family, and no matter what he does, she will always love him. With tears in their eyes, they hug.

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A downcast Chloe wears a robe while sitting on her Miami hotel bed. Wearing a t-shirt and boxer briefs, a compassionate looking Stefan rests his hand on her arm.

Back in Miami, Stefan tries to recapture the mood with Chloe, who can’t believe he doesn’t want to know what happened to him. Stefan declares she’s who he wants to be with, and he hopes she feels the same way. She needs to be convinced that he got over Gabi on his own and suggests he get his own room.

Stefan puts on pants and a leather jacket and grabs his suitcase. Chloe thanks him for a wonderful New Year’s Eve. Stefan says it was the best night he can remember in a long time. He kisses her and leaves the room. Gabi runs up to him in the hallway, assuming he’s come around. He glowers and tells her to get the hell out of his way. She watches him stalk off and says to herself, “It’s just going to take some time, but it will happen.”

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Wearing a leather jacket, Stefan cradles Chloe's head as he brings his lips close to hers. She wears a robe and her arms hang at her side.

At John and Marlena’s, a freaked-out Kristen calls Eric when she discovers Rachel isn’t in her room. He doesn’t pick up. She yells at Brady, who doesn’t even look upset. Eric saunters into the living room, eating a sandwich. He says he turned off his phone, and Rachel is sleeping. Kristen scowls that she’s not in her room. Brady suggests she sleepwalked into one of the other rooms.

After Kristen heads off to look for Rachel, Brady asks Eric where his kid is. Eric assures him she’s fine with Sloan, but Brady isn’t comforted. Kristen frantically returns, wondering why Brady isn’t looking for their daughter, and starts to call the cops. As Brady tries to talk her out of it, Eric slyly texts Kristen from an unknown number. The message warns that Rachel will be fine unless she calls the police.

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At John and Marlena's place, Kristen glares at Eric, who holds a plated sandwich. Brady stands behind Kristen.

Brady grabs Kristen as she lunges for Eric. She screams that she trusted him to protect Rachel. Brady holds her as she wails. When she declares she’s going out to search, Eric slyly texts that she should stay there and wait for further instructions, or she’ll never see Rachel again. Brady suggests they do what the “kidnappers” want and leaves with Eric.

In the hallway, Brady worries that Kristen could do something crazy in her state. He fills Eric in on Kristen’s role in brainwashing Stefan to get Chloe out of his life. He has no idea what she’ll do next. Eric tells him to go back inside to keep an eye on Kristen. He’ll check on Rachel and Sloan.

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Sloan and Rachel sit on the living room floor facing forward. Sloan wears a bored expression, while Rachel eats ice cream from a carton.

At Sloan’s place, the lawyer eats ice cream and watches TV with Rachel. Later, Eric comes by as Rachel sleeps. Sloan tells him how boring it was to spend her New Year’s watching cartoons as an emergency babysitter. After he confesses the truth offscreen, Sloan explodes. She can’t believe Eric got her mixed up in kidnapping Kristen DiMera’s kid. However, she senses he’s enjoying it. After everything Kristen has done, Eric doesn’t care if she suffers one moment if it makes her do the right thing.

With a fire behind them in the mansion, Nicole and EJ kiss at midnight. She asks if that was just a New Year’s kiss. EJ thinks it could mean whatever they want it to mean.

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Upstairs, EJ and Nicole stumble into her room, kissing. EJ unzips her dress, and she tears off his tuxedo shirt. They make their way to the bed, but Nicole stops him. She doesn’t think she should use EJ to get over Eric. EJ grins and urges her to do just that. Nicole thinks it wouldn’t hurt to try restraint once in her life. She’s not over Eric, and she’s not even divorced from Rafe yet. He understands, but hopes when she’s back to acting on impulse, he’ll be there. Before he leaves, she assures him his secret about Stefan is safe with her.

Alone, Nicole composes and deletes a Happy New Year text to Eric.

Johnny comes home to find EJ pouring himself a drink in the living room. EJ pours his son one, and they toast. Johnny informs him the cops let Li go, but EJ knows Rafe will come sniffing around eventually. EJ asks what’s going on between Johnny and Wendy. Johnny retorts it’s none of his business, and asks about him and Nicole. EJ echoes Johnny’s words, and they toast to seeing what happens in the New Year.

Next on Days of Our Lives: Sonny tries to make things right with Will, and Gwen’s there for Xander.

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Remember the soap vets taken from us in 2022 in the photo gallery below.